Ten Rules for a Better Life
These are not my rules for living a successful and worthwhile life. I first learned them from my good friend, Epictetus, who lived around 55-135 AD.
If you find yourself desiring to see a significant change in your life, then you will find the key to change is within you, not within the others around you. At the beginning of every program I instructed, I would always ask my adult class to tell me what the problems in their lives were and what was holding them back from being happy, successful, and fulfilled. Below are the top ten responses I would most often hear:
- Taxes are too high.
- My partner doesn’t understand me.
- Things cost too much.
- The government isn’t doing a good job.
- My boss is an idiot.
- People are prejudiced against me because…
- No one will give me a job.
- I can’t get a fair break.
- There are no jobs in this town.
- I haven’t got an education.
Well, if any of these sound like your problems, then I would say you really do have some serious problems.
The only problem is, I see your problems a little differently than you do. Below is what I see:
- There was a time when the highest tax rate was 90%, imagine that. The world was still working pretty good, but if you reached the highest tax bracket you had to give 90% to the government. Today the highest tax rate is 50%. The world is still operating just fine. Now if the tax rate has gone from 90% down to 50%, how can you say taxes are too high? Your problem isn’t that taxes are too high, your problem is you don’t make enough money.
- If your wife, husband, or partner doesn’t understand you, then you need to learn how to explain yourself better.
- Things don’t cost too much, you just don’t have enough money to buy them and/or you just want a lot more than you can afford.
- I will let you in on a secret, governments never do a good enough job, neither do corporations or small businesses, and neither do you or I. We can all do better.
- Your boss may be an idiot, but unless you can arrange for him to sit down for five hours every night with a good tutor, chances are that he is never going to change. So here is what I suggest you do. Get smart about what you do on the job and one of two things are going to happen, your boss is going to smarten up or you will get to work for a better boss.
- Learn to be yourself, to be honest, true, and fair with others, but most important of all learn not to hold malice or prejudice in your heart against others. Do this, and it is not an easy thing to learn, but learn to do this and you will be amazed how over 95% of all the prejudice you experience now will magically disappear. Of the ten points listed here, his is the most difficult to learn and it is also the most powerful life changing experience you will ever have.
- You’re right, no one is going to give you a job, you have to go out and earn one.
- If you want a break in life, you also have to earn this as well.
- No jobs, do the math. Unemployment is what 7.5%, 8 or 9% it doesn’t matter. Even if the unemployment is 10% that means 90% of the people are employed. So ask yourself, do you really belong in the bottom 10% of the people out there? No, then you better find out how to go and earn your job, it is waiting for you. The same advice applies if you want a better job.
- If you haven’t got an education you have two choices. First, get one, second, find a job that doesn’t need more education than you have. If you decide you don’t like any of those jobs, return to the first solution.
In the beginning, many of my students often decided I was being pretty tough on them. I explained I am a pussy-cat compared to how tough the world will be on them if they don’t learn these ten simple rules of life.
I realize many people reading this article are not just starting out in life, but I also know as we grow older we begin to forget the basics. After a while, things smoothen out and we begin to think we shouldn’t have to work so hard. Then suddenly we hit a major bump on the road of life, or worse, we derail and go completely off-track. Some of us experience a complete train wreck.
It is hard to remember life is forever, but it is, and so are these simple ten rules.
If you would like to know everything Epictetus had to say about living a better life, look for the book, ‘The Art of Living’ by Sharon Lebell, and remember,
“If you wait for the world to change, nothing will change, but if you change yourself, your whole world will change.” –B. Norwood
Feature photo by Dan O’CkerShare this: